Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University
Title: Global Reckonings with Police Torture
Abstract: This talk explores the twinned meanings of both the object and concept referred to as the “black box.” The black box references the name of a torture device used to send electronic currents through a person’s body for the purpose of coercing a confession; and it also refers to the label I give for the conventional agreement, among a group of police officers, to stop trying to understand how and why torture is taking place in their very own precinct. In this way, my research bears witness to police violence that began in Chicago and then follows the city’s networks of torture to the global War on Terror. Being considered the enemy, and then being purposefully tormented because of it—this is what connects all of the survivors of torture in my study, from Black Chicagoans, like Andrew Wilson, to a Guantánamo detainee named Mohamedou Ould Slahi.